Review: Calypso are back with another clutch of exciting mavericks orbiting the weirder end of the contemporary club spectrum. There are minimal wave influences to be tacitly detected on Nicola Cruz's "Tu Recuerdo" as well as kind of stripped back acid freakiness, while in FE's "Tarde O Temprano" there's even more gritty, industrial tinged bite in the billowing surges of machine rhythms. Quixosis takes some wonderfully lilting traditional percussion and gives it a freaky treatment which makes for the kind of slow jam Weatherall would have wielded with aplomb. NTFL finishes this ear-snagging compilation off with the plaintive, Dembow-tinted "Vacio".
Review: The first release on One Instrument saw artists like Korridor, Serena Butler and Yair Elazar Glotman demonstrating new experimental sides to their studio practice. The second release comes from Italian master Neel, who presents two distinct demonstrations of his unique touch and deep gear knowledge. The A side is a lingering ambient piece captured from the tail end of a session using the E340 Cloud Generator oscillator, while the B side focuses on the Roland SH-01A, itself an update of the iconic SH-101. The results of these two intriguing, limitation oriented excursions are as compelling as you would expect.
Review: The latest Emotional Response release provides something very special indeed, in the form of a new track from under the radar psychedelic rock musician Nick Nicely. Nicely has been making music from the 70s onwards, but his music has recently undergone something of a critical reappraisal, with the likes of Robert Wyatt and Robyn Hitchcock supposedly inspired by his work; "Wrottersley Road" provides the ideal entry into his music, a masterful piece of shoegaze pop filled with fuzzed out guitars and Eastern psychedelic tones. Remixes are provided by Invisible Hands, who provide a minimal 80's inspired electro-pop version, which comes saturated in radiophonic textures, and The Oscillation, who take the track into even more abstract ambient territory than the original, deep into a place where time seems to stand still entirely, drawing its rich textures out into infinity.
The Ancient Musical Complex Of Mammoth Bones (2:55)
Muzak For Mesozoic Showreel (2:52)
Review: Ukrainian label Muscut operates in its own weird and wonderful electronic universe, and next up is a first new record from Nikolaienko in four years. It finds him collaborate with Arthur Mine, a Kyiv-based keyboard maestro and an ex-member of the Blacklazer band, on music that is best described as eerie and exotic experimentalism. Occult real world recordings of water, birds, wood and metal are sprinkled over ambient synths to make for jungle soundscapes and retro fairground soundtracks that are bonkers and bizarre in equal measure. The natural and unnatural have rarely sat together in such perfectly unsettling harmony.
Review: Osaka-based ambient/dub/digital reggae fusionist (and sometime Tapes collaborator) 7FO links with vocalist NTsKi on this loved-up single "D'Ya Hear Me!". In its original form, it's opaque and saucer-eyed, with NTsKi adding dewy-eyed vocals to a 7FO riddim that cannily joins the dots between dreamy ambient pop, lo-fi digital reggae and cheery electronica. 7FO's inventive, colourful and gleefully innocent-sounding backing track can be heard in full on the instrumental "Karaoke Version". Heavier digi-dub flavours are provided on the superbly out there and spacey Bim One Production remix, while the CVN rework re-imagines the track as an off-kilter chunk of cheery experimental pop.
Review: Raphael Fragil's Fragil Musique has never ceased to stop exploring and innovating through electronic sounds. Since 2011, the imprint has showcased an impressive array of previously unheard talents and, in the process, has given us access to names such as Jafar, Cedric Borghi and Kenny Lane. More recently, the likes of Nummer and Simo Cell have played their part in the label's development, and this latest collaborative EP has come at exactly the right moment to lock these past six years down to a varied and polished release. Nummer, who had first come to light through Going Good, lays down some slick, slow lounge house on his "Nummer's Tribute", followed by the equally wavy and Balearic-leaning "Simo Cell's Tribute". "Jafar's Tribute" is a different kind of affair; the house beats are out in full motion, charged by a glorious minimal-dub energy, which leaves "Bazarov's Tribute" to deliver the funk via some masterfully executed boogie vibes. A splendid EP - TIP!
Review: John Talabot's Hivern Discs could be a case study in suggestive dance music. Made for serious soundystems, finely tuned to perfection, the spectacular level of detail means even when there's a hint rather than definitely defined beat, there's always a sense of rhythm that's easy to feel with feet, while the arrangements themselves are aiming straight for the mind. An expansive six tracks form this EP, which pretty much define that idea. Oma Totem's "Amb Minus", for example, uses tom-style drums to create urgency, with scarcely a kick in earshot. "Center Of Things", by Mioclono, counters that by bringing the 80s vibes via a purposeful punch, reverbed synth line and low-bleeps, threatening to put you in a trance. Closer "Bretonn", meanwhile, sees Odopt adopt a dark, desolate mood that sounds as though it was born on a factory floor.
Review: Iceland's Olafur Arnalds (Kiasmos) and German multi-instrumentalist Nils Frahm team up again for some breathtaking excursions in classical/ambient crossover bliss. Frahm's sombre piano passages gently dance over Arnalds' serene soundscapes and eerie field recordings on this bittersweet and emotive journey. What was meant to be a one hour video recording of the duo in action turned out to be an eight hour long improvisation session and these are some of the segments of the wonderful marathon recording. We particularly enjoyed the gorgeously haunting electronic soul captured on "23:52" where those analogue synth strings just rise and rise to an epic climax.
Review: Produced by Ben Lamdin and Nostalgia 77, this new Game Show LP touches down via Impossible Ark, and the truth is that we're faced with a magnificent blend of outsider sonics that span just about every exotic flavor possible. Featuring Matthew Bourne, the album travels at a gentle pace, meandering gently through placid waves of lo-fi drum machining, and oceanic waves of cool synthesizers. In fact, the best part of this album is characterized by incredible polyphonic flows, intertwining with another to produce something that sounds veritably FRESH. Much like Errorsmith's last LP for PAN, albeit more tranquil in guise, this is a bunch of tunes which nod to something new and exciting - a delicious cocktail of tropical industrialism that sits very well with us. Warmly recommended.